New information on Baby Hope investigation released by DuPage County investigators
The DuPage County sheriff's office and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children have released new information relevant to the search for the family of Baby Hope, an infant who was found dead in a backpack on a wooded, remote road near Wheaton on Aug. 15, 2016.
The investigators revealed the results of a recent pollen test that indicates the backpack possibly originated in the southwestern United States before coming to Illinois. The tests also showed that the items spent a significant amount of time in an urban area of northern Illinois.
It's the latest development in the investigators' long search for Baby Hope's parents. Using DNA tests performed on the infant, authorities in 2016 compiled renderings of what her parents might look like. Investigators now have released images of the backpack the baby was found in, along with a brown bathmat and toilet seat cover that were inside the backpack.
Baby Hope's story struck a chord with the Wheaton community. A plaque and tree in memory of Baby Hope, who was named by sheriff's police, were installed in a playground in Seven Gables Park in Wheaton in April 2017. Emblazoned on the plaque is information about the state's Safe Haven program, which guarantees anonymity to parents who choose to leave their babies at hospitals, fire stations or police stations instead of abandoning them.
State lawmakers enacted the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act in 2001. Since that time, 119 babies have been left at Safe Havens and 79 were illegally abandoned. Of the 79, advocates say, 41 infants died, including Baby Hope.
Anyone with information on Baby Hope's family should to call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1 (800)-THE-LOST (843-5678).